This blog gives you a simple explanation of what infrastructure as code is, as well as how Innofactor can offer a solution that gives you even greater benefits.
"Infrastructure as code allows us to create off-the-shelf ‘building blocks’. You select building blocks and assemble them into the infrastructure you want to implement. Each building block has some properties that are pre-defined." – Haakon Baglo, Innofactor consultant.
What is the alternative to using infrastructure as code?
"Then you have to build everything from scratch. You have to make each building block and define how it should behave, instead of choosing from the finished blocks," says Baglo.
However, Innofactor doesn’t just offer building blocks – they put them together in finished infrastructure. Innofactor has developed a unique solution to set up a secure and tested data center platform in Azure. This platform will become a foundation for all services that want to run in Azure.
Benefits of infrastructure as code
There are several benefits to using infrastructure as code.
- The ability to define the infrastructure enables revising it before implementation, so that errors and deviations can be found, and there is better control over the infrastructure, generally.
- You can put it into a version control system that will provide a full change log, with a reversal option, something you do not have in traditional infrastructure.
- You reduce the possibility of human error.
- You take advantage of the cloud benefits, such as fast scaling.
- It's easy to build up infrastructure when you need more.
- You can send infrastructure as code to the other side of the world in an instant, where they can roll out just the infrastructure you want. This is because you do not send the infrastructure itself, but a code that contains all the rules for how the infrastructure should be and behave.
In addition, there are many benefits with regard to testing.
"Since you have defined your infrastructure as code, you can base all of your environment on the same code base, for example, testing and development environments. This means that you can be more confident about obtaining the same result in all environments," says Baglo.
Prerequisites for success
With infrastructure as code, it is easier to maintain and implement new solutions, but success requires having done a thorough job with the code set.
"It requires doing a solid job the first time, and then you can always work on the infrastructure," says Baglo.
The reason not everyone uses infrastructure as code is that it requires some expertise. You have to have knowledge and experience, and it takes time to build up good codes.
Innofactor has taken infrastructure as code a step farther.
"Based on our long experience and expertise, we have assembled the ‘building blocks’ for finished infrastructure. To use a house metaphor, one could say that Microsoft delivers the materials, but we put them together for finished houses," says Baglo.
Best way to the cloud
"The advantage is that it is easier to outline how the infrastructure should look to the client at an early stage, the implementation is faster, the quality is better. Security is very well taken care of all the way and you can give the client precise figures in terms of time and costs," adds Baglo.
When taking the cloud route, the most important thing people can do is to ask smart questions that will provide a good foundation for the whole journey. That is something Innofactor knows a lot about after having taken that journey with many clients.
Here are some important questions that should be answered before the journey is undertaken.
Why is this unique to Innofactor?
- "Microsoft provides materials to assemble these building blocks, but they are developed to be suitable for all clients. We work specifically for the Norwegian market and bring a lot of experience to our work. That's why we can take it a step farther," says Baglo. The VDC, Virtual Datacenter is the solution.
- "Prior to Azure, they worked with other types of data center solutions. We have gathered all our experience and knowledge of what works for our customers. We have taken the best of data centers, combined with services and features in Azure, and developed VDC based on that."
- Innofactor has a competence and experience base in Azure infrastructure that is unique in Norway. The development of this solution is a result of all the expertise and experience put into the system. I believe our expertise in Azure and data centers, combined with the insight into the needs of Norwegian companies, is unique; therefore we are the only ones in Norway who have developed it," concludes Baglo.
Haakon is a consultant at Innofactor, where his focus is on Azure. He works with architecting secure cloud environments for businesses and exploring the possibilities with infrastructure as code to deliver better solutions for his customers.